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Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

I want to congratulate you, Mr. Trump, and challenge you.

Back in 2009, I wrote a similar letter to your predecessor; I even mailed it to him, shortly after the letter ran as my weekly column. I didn’t really expect a reply, so I wasn’t disappointed.

I was disappointed in what happened during the intervening years, but those times are gone now. I finally, sir, feel some hope.

Now, folks will criticize me for this opinion, but I’m used to that. I hope that you can get used to far worse criticism now that you have won a hard-fought campaign, and won it fair and square. Your skin has to be a lot thicker than mine now, but I think you can handle it.

Rest assured, sir, we are praying for you, and will continue to do so. I feel it’s a Christian’s responsibility to pray for godly guidance for our political leaders.

During the primary, our household did not vote for you. However, when you became the nominee, we began wholeheartedly supporting you, because despite our differences, you were the one who reflected and claims to reflect at least some of our values, the most important ones. I’ve watched you closely in the succeeding months, and watched you come around more to our line of thinking, so our support is now solid, rather than lukewarm.

Those main issues, sir, are still the same – the sanctity of life for unborn children. The freedom to try to succeed, without being punished by the government through undue regulation and burdensome taxes. The protection of First and Second Amendment rights, since without those, the rest are subject to the whims of a corrupt government. The protection of the people of the United States, whether they were born here or came here legally, seeking their version of the American dream.

I have to admit, Mr. President, when the pundits and the publicists are stripped away, the facts reflect that you have built an incredible empire – through work, not through reliance on the government. I admire that; perhaps I might not admire some of the things that you allegedly did to gain success, and I certainly don’t have any use for casinos and such, but you ain’t afraid of work.

Nor do you see the government as having a role in creating work, as much as you do in making the government get the heck out of the way of those who want and need to build, create and produce. I don’t see much tolerance for hookworm and scurvy in your work ethic, if I may mix aphorisms. I admire that.

As a man, I like the fact that there’s rarely a doubt where you stand on an issue. Even if I agree with your position, I don’t always agree with your delivery. Watching you in the weeks since the elections, however, I’ve seen some changes that I appreciate, and I think other folks will, too.

I hope, Mr. President, you can ignore the media. It sounds strange, considering I am a newspaperman by trade, but my industry has ruined its credibility when it comes to covering politics. Too many of my comrades have been trying to legislate, rather than report or comment, and they’ve been allowed to do so. This country ain’t supposed to work that way.

When it came to the media, the last administration was much like that Chinese fish symbol, where the two simultaneously feed on each other and get nowhere. I sincerely hope you saw this, and don’t fall into the same trap.

A lot of folks are worried about their health insurance, Mr. Trump. Well, ours went away several years ago, and I’m surprised at how many people ended up in the same boat we are – namely, finding it less expensive to pay a fine every year and try not to get sick or hurt, rather than to give half of each paycheck to pay for insurance that can’t be used, since deductibles and co-pays went through the roof. I personally think that health care reform needs to start with tort reform, since liability insurance costs for doctors and the medical field are a big part of every doctor’s bill. Then get rid of the silly laws prohibiting shopping for policies across state lines. I’m waiting to see what happens with your ballyhooed rollback of Obamacare. I think you can do it, if you and the rest of the folks in charge can stand the screaming and fit-pitching.

At the same time, sir, we have to be sure that those truly in need are well taken care of. I sincerely hope you can blend together job growth and getting people off the welfare rolls, so they can eventually take care of themselves, without relying on tax dollars taken from people who do work. That’s going to be difficult – since I was a toddler, the government has been encouraging folks to live off the hard work of others. Indeed, a president who sat in that office just under 50 years ago frankly said that he could guarantee votes as long as he could guarantee welfare benefits. I sincerely hope, sir, that you have a rock-solid plan to guarantee jobs; do that, and the votes will follow.

As I wrote these words, Mr. President, a family in Westwego, La. was waiting for the medical examiner to release the body of their father and husband. Mike Louviere was a police officer and a former Marine who served in Afghanistan. He was murdered helping a stranded motorist.

Now, it’s too early to tell for sure if Mike was targeted, as so many officers have been in recent years. I think it was just timing. But, sir – the men and women behind the badge are our defenders and protectors here at home, just as our soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors are overseas. They deserve the loyalty of the President of the United States. They must be held accountable when they do wrong, and they must meet a higher standard – but I sincerely hope you stay out of local situations unless you or your administration are asked to wade in.

You say you are a president who will bring law and order back to America. We can use it, sir. A lot of folks are scared right now, folks of every color, both behind and in front of the badge. You can change that, and I think you can do it without throwing either side under the proverbial bus.

In closing, Mr. President, I extend to you much the same invitation I did for your predecessor. Come down and spend some time in the country. I’ll take you to the diner where I eat lunch, and introduce you to Sue, so you can get a refresher course in the hard work that goes into a small business.

Maybe we can go have a cold drink at Pierce and Co., and you can talk to the folks buying farm supplies, building materials, hardware and the other things that make farms and contractors and homes operate.

Perhaps we can have some porch time with a friend who worked hard all his life and was successful, but now is facing the likelihood that he won’t be able to leave nearly as much to his wife and kids as he hoped. Since he’s facing a terminal illness, that time is likely much sooner than later, and much of what he worked for will be taken by the government, without even a thank you note.

I’d like to introduce you to some of the folks who, like Miss Rhonda and me, were utterly stymied when we actually believed the federal folks who said they were here to help after Hurricane Matthew. Boy, were we wrong.

I’d really like you to meet my friend George and Laurie, whose restaurant was destroyed by the same storm, but had to rebuild through the kindness of friends and the sweat of their brows. The restaurant is open again, by the way, with no thanks to the federal government.

I hope, sir, that listening to those folks would help you understand that while we are loyal Americans, and we understand the need for some government, we’re tired of a government that not only doesn’t help, but hinders.

Bring us together again as one people, Mr. Trump – then let us loose, and watch us succeed.

I have the honor to remain,

Sincerely yours,

Jefferson Weaver

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july, 2018

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